II. Report of the Faculty Senate Chairperson
A J. Miller/Blazer motion to hold elections as item VI in the agenda was approved without dissent.
III. Report of the Student Senate President
IV. Report of the Graduate Student Organization
V. Report of the Administrative Officers
President McNairy highlighted the four key messages about MU listed with the Seize the Opportunity pins. She also shared that a recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that many CEOs and other leaders attended institutions like Millersville. Dr. McNairy expressed regret at having to cancel the Garden Party but noted that persons who braved the weather enjoyed an impromptu garage party. She indicated that faculty have another chance to gather soon at the upcoming 1st Fridays event in October.
Dr. McNairy expressed her pride at Millersville again ranking first in performance funding from PASSHE. She welcomed ideas for spending about $1.4 million in discretionary funds not already committed to other initiatives. She noted stiff competition from West Chester, which has an advantage due to overall student numbers. Dr. McNairy stated that efforts of MU faculty and staff towards excellence have been key to our success. She also reminded faculty that some sister schools have struggled with the performance funding criteria and requested sensitivity towards our colleagues at these institutions.
A senator suggested that Dr. McNairy might forward the Wall Street Journal article on to PA legislators. Dr. McNairy noted that she had also recently encountered a discouraging letter to the editor that referred to state system students as average.
Provost Prabhu noted that the UPC visit to Senate planned for today was moved to October 3 so the entire committee can be present.
Associate Provost Burns
Associate Provost for Academic Administration Burns encouraged Senators to carefully review the document from GERC requesting extension of First-Year Seminars and Learning Communities.
A question was raised regarding when online library resources will be made available again. Dr. Prabhu noted that computer hacking started the problems now affecting library internet services. He noted that both short-term and long-term solutions are being implemented, including transfer of oversight of online library resources to IT. Senator Warmkessel indicated that an e-mail was recently sent out outlining several options for working around the current problems and that persons with specific issues may contact library staff for assistance.
VI. Committee Elections
A Wismer/Igyor motion to unanimously elect all unopposed candidates was approved without dissent.
Dr. Börger-Greco reminded senators that a third election to fill vacancies will be held at the next Senate meeting. Immediately following the third election, nominations for At-Large members will be accepted for any remaining vacancies. Senators should submit any nominations to the Faculty Senate Secretary before the meeting to facilitate use of a printed ballot to expedite voting.
VII. Reports of the Faculty Senate Standing Committees
Discussion was held regarding review of distance-learning courses that were implemented over the past few years without being reviewed officially. Although there has been a defined approval process for changing a current course to a distance-learning format, it appears that many classes were converted without going through this review process. Dr. Prabhu pointed out that the CBA specifies that a proposal to change the format of a current course to distance learning must be reviewed within 30 days at two levels, departmental and UCPRC/GCPRC. A grievance of the 30-day policy recently brought attention to this issue, and it was discovered that as many as 130 courses currently being taught need to go through this peer review process. Dr. Prabhu has requested that faculty teaching courses that have not had this approval bring their proposals to UCPRC/GCPRC. It was noted that these courses should first go through departmental review as well.
Dr. White and Dr. Mowrey shared that the burden of adding these reviews to UCPRC and GCPRC schedules would be overwhelming and that faculty members are anxious about getting these approvals in time for teaching their courses again. They suggested the possibility of setting up DL courses on a 5-year review schedule similar to that used for EDWs. Dr. West noted the EDW review process works smoothly. Dr. Prabhu stated that, while there is no set time frame for completing these reviews, putting off review of any course for 5 years from now is not advisable. He stated that the main priority is to ensure that every course has been through the appropriate peer review. In Meet & Discuss recently, it was suggested that a sub-committee of faculty with DL experience could be formed to separately review DL courses and bring recommendations to UCPRC/GCPRC for final approvals. This type of group should be able to do these reviews more efficiently and provide a more informed evaluation of the DL format. Dr. Prabhu noted that, as we plan for reviewing DL courses, we should keep in mind that Middle States will also be looking for DL courses to meet certain learning outcomes. He commented that the 2-level review process leaves deans out of the review process. However, it was noted that deans should be aware of these proposals since they review the resource implications. Dr. White recommended that UCPRC and GCPRC discuss options for the review process. Dr. Prabhu suggested that APSCUF discuss it as well.
Academic Outcomes and Assessment
Dr. White reminded Senators of the upcoming luncheon to be held Thursday, September 28 where General Education assessment will be discussed.
Dr. Warmkessel distributed a proposal regarding extension of the First-Year Seminars and Learning Communities. This will be considered at the next meeting.
VIII. Transfer Articulation Legislation
A question was raised regarding why some courses were being transferred without departmental review. Dr. Prabhu responded that the Registrarís Office works from an approved list of courses. He indicated that any problems with a transferred course should be addressed directly with the Registrar.
IX. Campus Management Module in Shared Administrative Plan
Dr. Burns reminded Senators that issues relating to moving Millersville onto the SAP system in 2009-2010 will be coming to Academic Policies and Senate in the near future. Dr. West noted that some of these issues are already under review and others will be considered once a common policy is proposed. Dr. Prabhu noted that the administration is actively sharing information coming from PASSHE to ensure that we are all working together. He reiterated that we will need to be flexible in matters that improve or have no effect on our quality since variations from the common policy will carry a financial burden. However, we do want to take a strong stand on policies that we feel are important for maintaining academic excellence.
Dr. Mowrey asked about the implications on graduate programming and was told that information would be passed on as it becomes available.
X. Reports of the Faculty Senate Special Committees
Dr. Kathy Schreiber returned to answer questions about the recommendation for establishing an Honor Code at Millersville. She requested that Senate approve taking the proposal to a vote by the entire faculty. She confirmed that academic dishonesty reports submitted to the Honor Council would still go on file as they currently do. Another question raised was about a mechanism for a faculty member to petition for upholding a sanction that a chair overturned. The committee indicated that they had not considered this, but it was noted that the faculty member should be allowed to address the Honor Council regarding a charge against a student. It was also clarified that the Honor Council decision would be directly implemented by the Registrar. A course for which an XF grade was received could be retaken to earn a new grade, but the XF grade would remain on the student record. A single offense could be dropped after 2 years.
Comments were made regarding the importance of instructing students on academic honesty. Dr. Schreiber stressed that education was a key factor in the recommendation for creating an Honor Council. Dr. Mata requested that any educational information include the concept of visual property in addition to intellectual property.
Student Senate President Moyer shared that students need to be instilled with an understanding of academic honesty. He also noted that there is a danger of the topic becoming so routine that it feels irrelevant to students. Dr. Burns raised the question of whether a new process is needed given that Millersville already has similar policies in place to address issues of academic honesty. The committee responded that the intent is to consciously promote academic honesty by calling special attention to the issue. Conversation on this issue will be continued.
XI. Proposed Courses and Programs
The proposal to reduce the number of allowed graduate transfer credits from 12 to 9 was approved without dissent. This policy will be effective fall 2007.
XII. Faculty Emeritus
XIII. Other/New Business
MUOnline Advisory Group: Established in Spring 2004 by the Provost to discuss issues relating to distance learning and make recommendations to the Deansí Council. This group works to create best practices and guidelines, address assessment and evalution and consider general DL aspects like services, class size or registration. The group has also recently been charged with creating a rubric to be used in reviewing DL courses for approval.
Advanced DL Users Group: Established by faculty members in Spring 2006 to provide a place for faculty using DL at advanced levels to converse about relevant pedagogy and technology issues.
DL Task Force: Established in Spring 2006 by the Provost and APSCUF to develop a general evaluation instrument appropriate within the CBA to be used in all DL courses. The Task Force is comprised of 3 administrators appointed by the Provost and 3 faculty members appointed by APSCUF.
Meeting was adjourned at 5:53 p.m.
Aimee L. Miller
Faculty Senate Secretary